College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

College of DuPage's Student Newspaper

The Courier

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COD Women’s Basketball Honors Breast Cancer Survivors Undeterred by Loss Against Joliet

The Chaparrals fell just short after taking the Wolves to double overtime.
Rachel Wagner

The College of DuPage women’s basketball team recognized breast cancer survivors in a pink-out game at home on Feb. 1 before taking on Joliet Junior College. The Chaparrals never held the lead before a late eight-point run with less than three minutes put them ahead of the Wolves by two points. JJC managed to tie the game with less than 10 seconds left, and COD took their conference rivals to double overtime.

COD led by one point with 34 seconds left in the second overtime, but turnovers allowed JJC to take the lead. The Chaparrals fought to take the Wolves to triple OT, but they couldn’t capitalize on their final possession. COD fell 85-87 to give them a 6-17 record.

“The girls battled, I have to give them that,” head women’s basketball coach Abby Talley said. “The frustrating thing is that we let the little things [get to us]. We were up by five [points] with two minutes left, and we just let them attack at free will. That ultimately got us in the end. We just have to stay poised throughout these situations. It’s not the first time we’ve been in these situations, so you’d think we’d know what we were doing. I can’t say they didn’t fight because they definitely did fight.”

Freshman guard Nala Taylor added six points and three defensive rebounds. She also picked up three assists. (Rachel Wagner)

Freshman guard Megan Martinez led the team with 26 points and put up eight total rebounds. Martinez also recorded two steals and one assist.

“It was just all over the place,” Martinez said. “It doesn’t feel real. [After] going double [overtime], we almost went into triple overtime, that’s just crazy. We gave it our all.”

Martinez talked about her mindset while playing through both overtimes.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Martinez said. “I didn’t feel pressure even though I knew how many people were watching and how close the game was. I just kept myself mentally there, because I know my team needs me. I think everyone did a good job doing the same thing.”

Sophomore guard Sierra Gibson racked up 20 points and six total rebounds before fouling out for the second consecutive game with 2:58 left in the fourth quarter. She also added five assists and two steals. Gibson explained how she supported her team from the bench through double overtime.

“I wanted my team to come out with a win,” Gibson said. “I was hyping them up. I was trying to help them with plays. I was just trying to keep everybody positive. It was such a hard game to play. It’s hard to play double [overtime], that’s a game and a half. It’s hard to keep going out there with all of these fouls and calls. The best thing I can do once I foul out is just be a good teammate and try to support them from the bench as much as I can.”

Sophomore forward Savannah Anderson leaps to capitalize on an offensive rebound to score two points. (Rachel Wagner)

Gibson elaborated on the importance of this game and the cause that the Chaparrals are supporting.

“[This was us] acknowledging all of the people who have battled breast cancer and are battling breast cancer,” she said. “Coach Abby beat it and it’s so important to her. She wants everyone to acknowledge that the fight is not over and to just keep pushing. She tells us to deal with adversity, and so it was a huge game for breast cancer [awareness] alone.”

Sophomore forward Savannah Anderson secured her seventh double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and making 11 total rebounds. Anderson also helped with four steals and made one assist. She reflected on what might’ve changed the result of the game.

“You can tell that we wanted it really, really bad,” Anderson said. “The only difference is that we just can’t make those mental mistakes. We’ve got to do the little things. I didn’t do all that great making my free throws, and that could’ve made a world of a difference. I’ve got to reflect on myself and see what I could’ve done to make this better for us.”

Anderson opened up about the importance of this game to her and how she feels like it brought the community closer together.

“I think it’s a beautiful thing to show how a community can rally and support each other,” she said. “Breast cancer runs in [my] family so it means a lot and hits home a little bit. It’s very special to me. It also just shows the amount of people who can come out, believe in us, support us and support each other through hard times. I think everyone got to see our true ability and what we can do, and how much awareness we can bring to certain things with just a game of basketball.”

With the most recorded minutes for the Chaps at 39:07, sophomore forward Sarah Topps secured 11 points and seven defensive rebounds. She also led the team with six assists and made four steals and one block. She said that playing in other taxing games throughout her basketball career kept her from fatiguing.

Freshman guard Megan Martinez (Rachel Wagner)

“This was a game where I knew that they needed me,” Topps said. “Regardless if I was tired or not. I’ve played in tough games like that before, and honestly being tired doesn’t even run through my mind. I’m focused on sacrificing myself for my teammates and coaches.”

Topps scored a buzzer-beating three-pointer at the end of the third quarter. She talked about applying what she’s learned throughout the season to her current play style.

“It’s about being ready to shoot,” Topps said. “The first game [this season] we lost by two [points] because I decided not to shoot at the end. I’m not saying I was going to make it, but I was on a roll. I had two in a row, and I should’ve shot the last one. Learning from that mistake [taught me] that in the last couple of seconds to just shoot it if I have it.”

Talley described what it meant to her to see the PEC arena filled with people supporting the team and the cause.

“To see the fans be as wild as they were, to see how many of them showed up today was huge,” she said. “[The support] was kind of a spitting image of how it was with me during my battle. To see that people do believe in the DuPage way, and I understand that this has not been the season that we were hoping for, but to see that people are still hopeful for us and still know that we can battle, this was a good example.”

She also gave credit to the Wolves for the hard-fought battle.

“This is a good JJC team,” Talley said. “They’re having a lot of success this season. I ultimately thought we had them, but just like us, they weren’t going to give up.”

The Chaparrals look to draw back into the win column against the Kishwaukee College Kougars at 1 p.m. on Feb. 3 in Malta, Ill.

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